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Jul 12, 2003 10:48 AM

Outerbanks Restaurants

  • j

What are the best restaurants on the Outerbanks, (Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, etc.)? Thanks, Jack

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  1. Hi Jack.
    I wrote an extensive review of @ 6 or 7 restaurants
    in Duck and one in Carolla of the Outer Banks.
    I posted it in the Mid Atlantic board so scroll
    down and you'll find it.

    Although there are probably some very good restaurants
    in Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, my wife and I
    avoided it and stayed on the North end for food
    because that area is less built up and less "strip
    malled" than Kill Devil and Nags Head.
    We took a ride down south and if felt like we
    were back in Ocean City or even Wildwood N.J.!
    Two places in Duck that you have to try are "Red Sky
    Cafe" and "The Roadside Cafe".
    In Carolla, you can get good food for adults and for
    the kids at JK's.

    See my review for more.

    Good luck and enjoy!


    1. Jack,

      I just posted this last week on the South board (are the OBX not South?!)...I like the raucous "Middle Outer Banks" and there are some real gems amidst all the wonderful beacj schlock.

      We stayed in a house in Nags Head at about MP 13. We had some great meals out, and even better ones in (helps when you have a professional chef staying in the house, too).

      My husband has been going to the middle Outer Banks for over ten years with friends. This year, we shared a house with four other couples. Friends from Nashville brought a propane-fueled deep fat fryer (wings on the beach for lunch; BYOFish for dinner), and Dana the chef and I catered a cocktail party for the night of the 4th.

      Best meal out: Goombay's (MP 7 on the beach road). Every year, this place is fantastic. Specials included bacon-wrapped monkfish, flounder, and a mixed grill of filet mignon, pork shops and wahoo. It is beach casual (they pull the tables back after dinner for live music and dancing), but the service is friendly and accurate, and the food is much better than the island-theme sign and decor would imply. I recommend it to anyone, in-season or out.

      Best take-out: Bacu Grill (MP 14 on the highway; Outer Banks Mall). Excellent Cuban-style roast pork that finds it way into quesadillas, burritos and a platter, great pressed sandwiches, and good seafood.

      Best seafood market: Austin's Seafood, MP 11. Japanese tourists inside were impressed with their selection and quality. And their prices are excellent compared to the local grocery stores. Make sure to pick up a package of their excellent breading mix---life's too short to not fry!

      Best night: 4th of July. We fixed seviche, crab dip, cajun meat pies, insalata caprese, a cheddar-bacon fondue, chilled steamed shrimp and more for a grazing table. Dana's husband appeared with two magnums of Mumm (in case I sound a little too-too: I have never had a magnum of anything---even Andre---before in my life), and we sipped and ate before taking our glasses out to the beach, where the shoreline was crowded with families launching the most impressive display of illegal fireworks I have ever seen. We launched our own contraband and came back in for Dana's creme brulee. Hooray!

      Best place to wait for your rental to be ready: Quagmires, MP 8 on the beach road. Generous drinks and oceanfront deck make this a great stop.

      Best lunch: Outer Banks Brewing Station, MP 9 or 10 on the highway. Really innovative menu, great wine list for the area, and good beer. But when you order the bitter, take the name into account!

      2nd best lunch: Pigman's Barbecue (MP 10?). Great takeout for folks spending the day on the beach. Pork, beef, turkey and tuna barbecue.

      Most disappointing meal: Fratelli's, MP 4. Great menu, but perhaps a little too far removed from red-sauce expectations of local and tourist diners. My pasta with duck ragu was quite good; my husband's sea bass was undercooked. Nothing quite clicked; to be fair, we were told Fratelli's has only been open for four months.

      Other favorites: Tortuga's Lie, Dare Devil Pizza, and the Good Life Gourmet (for deli and bread and wine). I'd skip Seamark Foods for grocery shopping and rely on good old Food Lion instead. FL has bigger inventory and much better prices.

      Cheers, Merritt

      1 Reply
      1. re: Merritt

        I agree with almost all of the above, I prefer Seamark to Foodlion. Goombays is must on every trip, I go several times a year and always hit G's and Mama Kwans tiki bar. Great place to meet locals.
        My last visit to Ocean Blvd was disappointing, they changed hands last year and don't seem quite the same. Nice wine list regardless.
        Favorite burger shack is Dune Burger in South Nags head.

      2. Ocean Blvd. in Kitty Hawk. Must go!! Our favorite restaurant anywhere!
        You will need reservations.

        1. 13 yr veteran of Nags Head agrees with Merritt on most everything except Pigman's. Dare Devil Pizza is good, not great. Don't miss Kill Devil Custard on the by-pass, especially their warm ice cream sandwich. Don't go to Sam and Omie's, which was sold a few years ago and is riding on its past. There is a great fried chicken place on the beach road, around mp 4, I think, in a strip center. Chilli Peppers (no, that's not a typo), is good tex-mex, particularly the crab cakes (limited availability), but was sold two years ago, and is not as it was. Cap'n Franks, for lunch only, has great hot dogs. Last but not least - Mama Kwan's on the bypass - hawaiian/asian influence; good bar try the kwandree), and local. Fine dining in Manteo would be 1789. Generally avoid crab houses.

          4 Replies
          1. re: nickdanger

            nickdanger, I failed to emphasize that Dare Devil is a specific, American-style pizza joint, NOT gourmet in any sense of the word. It somehow appeals to my inner five-year-old with lots of cheese, tangy sauce, and more cheese. I like it, but your comment makes me realize I would never try to duplicate it at home. It's good to me, may not be to other folks.

            I confess I didn't get to Pigman's this year since I picked up Dixie on the drive in. Has it slipped in quality, or do you just not care for it? Cheers, Merritt

            1. re: Merritt

              Agree with you on Dare Devil. Not a bad place, good atmosphere, so I give the food some leeway. Greek salad is OK, and people also like the calzone.
              Re: Pigman's-I think it has slipped from its beginnings, and has become too touristy (if that is possible at a beach). I like Dixie's and on my way down from DC go to Pierce's in Lightfoot, outside of Williamsburg, VA. I know some don't like Pierce's, but I do, and the rest of my family loves the fried chicken sandwich. Hushpuppies have slipped. One day I'll get there for breakfast and try the sausage biscuits.

              1. re: nickdanger

                Since you bring up the biscuit thing...have you ever had the ham biscuits at the Chickahominy House in Williamsburg? They have them for breakfast and lunch (well, you can order them at lunch, but they may not be on the menu). Light, square biscuits, maybe 1/2" thick, hot, split, buttered, and stuffed with country ham. Good stuff. Two to an order for $4 or something similarly reasonable.
                Take the Colonial Parkway exit (Rte 199) from 64 and head to Jamestown (south?). Turn left at Jamestown Road, and CH will be on the right.
                On Pigman's, I always go for takeout, so don't really care if it's touristy, unless you mean the quality has suffered from mass-production.
                Never thought about sausage biscuits at Pierce's...what a GOOD idea! Cheers.

                1. re: Merritt

                  Thanks for the rec.
                  On a higher plane, was in Baltimore last week and was able to eat at Charleston. Great menu, ridiculous wine list. Food was excellent, particularly head on shrimp and grits with tasso.

          2. Haven't been in years, but the Collington Cafe was very special - elegant and romantic.